14 June 2020

How long does NOW last??

The Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes of Vatican II is described, in its own Title, as de Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis.

How long is hoc hodiernum tempus to be deemed to last?

A few hundred Council Fathers were worried by the incorporation into a conciliar constitution of transient observations relating to a rapidly changing world: which is why, to satisfy such traditionalist pedantry, a long exculpatory Note is attached to that constitution's title. But - still - how long was their hodiernum tempus?

In the World outside the conciliar aula, that 1960s tempus passed quite quickly. The Beatles soon became what they are now, a delightful but retro taste. I recall the first of Ian Fleming's books to be made a film ... that distant decade when female parishioners told me that I resembled Sean Connery ... but, as the years passed after Dr No, the producers increasingly found Fleming's hodiernum tempus much too old-fashioned ... and commissioned new scripts. Among politicians, hoc hodiernum tempus was marked by the Cold War and fears that the Menace of World Communism would gobble up country after country until we had Soviet Commissars looking over our shoulders as we ordered our books up to Duke Humphrey or punted down the Cherwell. That tempus passed before the 1990s.

But perhaps hodierna tempora last longer in the Church? Did the hodiernum tempus Concilii Vaticani II end with the death of the last pope who was himself a Father of the Council - in 2005? (I presume that, long before then, the last conciliar diocesan bishop had retired upon reaching the retirement age). Or will hoc hodiernum tempus end when the last old gentlemen ... Kuengs and Ratzingers ... who were bright young periti of the Council, have passed to their (immensely varied but equally deserved) rewards? Or let us consider the Babes of the Council: those who ... despite the contraceptive frenzy of the time ... succeeded in getting conceived during the conciliar decade. They are already in middle age, tut-tutting in front of their mirrors over their white hairs and counting the wrinkles round their eyes. In a generation they will be retiring; a generation after that they will be as deadish as I shall be. Which of these landmarks might indicate the end of hoc hodiernum tempus?

And what about the Internet? Even the invention of printing had a lesser effect than this innovation.

A preoccupation with "the Council"is in fact a determination to live in the increasingly distant past.

This point seems to me so blindingly obvious that I almost feel ashamed to make it, lest you throw up your hands in boredom or despair and turn elsewhere in your computers.

I wonder how long it will be for the obvious to become obvious to the blind. 

12 comments:

Unknown said...

One moment here and then it is gone!

Oliver Nicholson said...

Ah, ordering books up to Duke Humphrey. I made the mistake of visiting a year or two ago and found the place occupied by ghosts - and wretched tour guides telling tourists that this is where the scholars used to work. It was built for reading manuscripts. Should it not be used for doing just that ?

vetusta ecclesia said...

Liturgically they backed the wrong horse: in a mid c20, educated in the Western tradition way, they increased the prominence of the spoken word and diminished symbol and gesture on the edge of a new era in which the image would become as important as it had been in mediaeval times

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

But see! learned men can now say it, and others yet will read him and ponder. Progress.

To quote another voice from the history books, who was still the late present when we were infants, this is surely "the end of the beginning". We may indeed hope we stand now invesperascens, and to quote an even older, but now ever-present and wonderfully soothing voice, "the shades lengthen and evening comes."

And "the fever"... it will indeed be over. Fever comes in so many forms.

√Čamonn said...

Vatican Council II was 7 years finished when I was born; my father and his best friend from his school days had long since fallen out by then over HV, of all things. I have made a mischievous hobby of quoting the Council itself at people who get over enthusiastic about what they think it said. Then, of course, I console them by pointing out that its very pastoral nature excuses us taking it very seriously at all. After that, of course, "eodem sensu eademque sententia" gets a run out, closely followed by that glorious phrase "subsistit in". I hope THE Council's hodiernum tempus doesn't end too soon, not while we can still have so much fun!

John Vasc said...

As it was St Antony of Padua's feastday yesterday, I decided to look into his sermons, so I kicked off with his sermon for the Second Sunday after Pentecost. This early thirteenth century sermon is a magnificent epic: a virtuoso interweaving of the Gospel (Luke 14: 16-24, 'Homo quidam fecit coenam magnam') with the Epistle (I John 3: 'Carissimi, nolite mirari si odit vos mundus') and the Office readings from 1 Kings (i.e. 1 Sam.) And yes, those are the very same texts preserved through every century, still the same readings as in the Traditional Latin Mass today - literally today.
But of course, those readings that infused the blood and seasonal rhythms of Catholics throughout the ages were brusquely jettisoned and replaced in the Great 1970 Liturgical Reforms by Bugnini and his secretive 'experts'. An iconoclasm besides which the smashing of Catholic statues and the spoliation of its churches pales into insignificance.

'Ierusalem, Ierusalem...'

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

The 1962- 1965 (BCE) Best Council Ever, arrived during the time when parents no longer named their children after taxis, like Cab Calloway, who was the starring on Broadway in Hello Dolly, but were naming their children after virtues like Chastity Bono who was born just after the council ended and that council took effect which such disturbing puissance that Chastity later began to pretend she was a man and told everyone to call her Chaz, the same name as that new country located in downtown Seattle.

Reading the signs of such times makes one wonder if any more councils should ever be called.

Stephen said...

John Vasc, why o why do so many people point to Bugnini while excluding the men who hired him and directed him, namely Pope Pius XII, JohnXXIII, and Paul VI? Does not the buck stop with them? One perhaps, could, I guess, say that all the Council fathers who signed the documents and who implemented the reforms were also responsible for the reforms, but, really, why do so many insist that Bugnini was this all-powerful origin of all things considered bad coming out of Vatican II by would-be-Traddies ??

Pulex said...

An interesting parallel in the Syllabus errorum by Pius IX:
77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.
How long did that "present day" last? Is it continuing today?

Grant Milburn said...

The council was concerned with modern man, and modern, as far as I can tell, means from about 1920 to 1990, or approximately the lifetime of the USSR.

Grant Milburn said...

...so the modern era has been over for about 30 years now, and the council has definitely passed its use-by date.

John Vasc said...

Stephen, the Council Fathers were not consulted about the liturgical reforms. They were only broadly demonstrated at the Council, then secretively discussed by Bugnini's little cabal after the Council had ended, and implemented by the episcopacy on the urging of Paul VI. (The Council had broken up with the vague undertaking to reconvene and reconsider after the Council's decisions had had time to be realized. So sceptical bishops may have thought they'd get the chance to have their say later.)
Of course Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI should not have been so ready to adopt what Bugnini handed them. Either he had some very cunning methods of persuasion, or they were naively convinced already that some kind of 'change' was needed, and did not grasp the extent to which even a small innovation in the liturgy can change both belief and attitude.